Greg Smith, Director of Shopper Marketing
Pitching a shopper marketing idea to a buyer can veer down unintended roads if not approached from the right perspective. Check your preparedness with these five questions before you put an invitation on your buyer's calendar.
Q1: Are your marketing and sales teams in sync?
Your idea may be brilliant, but without a buyer's endorsement, its impact will be severely restricted. The only way to realize the full value of your shopper marketing idea is through your brand's sales team. Your lead salesperson on the account should be involved from the start - not just in developing the pitch, but in gaining alignment on your annual objectives. These objectives should also matter to the buyer. Done right, you will have invited buyer collaboration on annual objectives before presenting your idea and recommendation in a formal proposal.
Q2: Are you translating marketing jargon?
A buyer's days are not spent learning the landscape of mobile shopping app networks, programmatic digital campaigns, influencer marketing or chatbot user experiences. Keep the details of nuanced technology and the targeting wizardry behind the curtain. Simplify the idea and focus on the facts: how shoppers will respond, and what the expected impact will be. Show your buyer examples of how the idea will come to life for shoppers.
Q3: Are you ready to define and defend the role of the investment?
Unless presented decisively, a buyer may perceive the marketing investment as a malleable opportunity. In the span of a meeting, a carefully constructed strategic idea can get pushed to fund a gap in the promotions calendar. To prevent this, make sure your proposal clearly outlines that the marketing investment must meet specific criteria, such as delivering an equity-building message.
Q4: Is your idea breaking written or unwritten retailer rules?
Some retailers are steadfast in how they want brand suppliers to market to their shoppers. If you're not fully invested in a grocer's CRM program, your proposal is dead in the water. A marketing idea that swings a buyer's club store shopper from a sample-grabbing, treasure-hunting experience to a mission-minded, check-listed visit may be enough to get your brand de-listed. Breaking the rules can be okay, and is sometimes necessary to deliver the most effective campaign. Just weigh the risks with the rewards and be prepared for the debate.
Q5: Have you identified the benefit to your buyer's category?
Your objective may be to grow brand awareness with category shoppers or to improve your brand's share in the category. While this is good for your brand, buyer alignment is going to come with shared objectives. They want to grow their category. How is your idea bringing more shoppers in? Or getting them to use the category more frequently? Are they going to buy more premium, profitable items? A recommendation that serves these types of goals might get your program off the ground. One that delivers these results gets a permanent seat at the table.